Lessons learned

So let’s take a deeper look at ‘hero’. As an aspiring author, I wrote the story, paid someone to make a simple cover for me and winged the categories, book description and keywords. It gets worse, believe me it does. Since I had no money, I edited the book myself. As someone who has editing experience that went well. Not! Looking back I’m embarrassed but all I can do is learn from that experience.

I knew nothing about pace, character depth or showing and not telling. I didn’t even know that numbers should be spelled out. I didn’t know that I didn’t know though. Still, I was hesitant to market the book because I was uncertain.
My sales numbers reflected this poor quality. I urge anyone who is writing a book to take your time to learn best practices before leaping in headfirst.
With my coming relaunch, I feel much more confident about the story and it’s quality. I’ve taken time to have other people read it, I’ve hired a line editor and I joined writers groups all of which have contributed to a vastly improved story that I’m proud to stand behind and have my name on.
So what lessons were learned?
– A coach once said winning is a habit. Writing needs to be a daily habit whether you feel like it or not.
– your first rough draft will be shit.
– create a group of people who like your writing and will beta read for you
– hire an outside editor. A good one.
– a quality cover is required
– carefully consider your categories and keywords.
– the book description has to sell them within the first ten words (see below for my new book description)
My new book description
India has always been a special place. A place of the mythical, the mystical and the legends. Ramesh did not concern himself with such things though. That is, until his mediocre life became too much for him and he returns to the village in India where he was born. There he embarks on an extraordinary journey that takes him to places he could never have imagined. In the village he becomes a legend. He becomes hero.
The best part of this is that the lessons I learned will carry forward to my future books.
I’m writing faster and more cleanly meaning less editing down the road.
If you’re interested in following my author journey and get the pre-release (digital) copy of my first book “hero” for FREE, go to the link below and sign up. This offer is only available until 1/01/19.
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Posted in Lessons

On the Cusp

I know. I know. I’ve been finishing for two months now. Actually, this is for real. I’m editing the last two chapters of ‘hero’. After that, some minor adjustments and checks like making sure my dates make sense or cleaning up chapter titles.

A lot of my edits have been to make sure the writing is showing not telling. Telling rather than showing is a common writer error.

Something else I cleaned up a lot was inconsistent use of terms. Especially since I use foreign words at points, it is important to be consistent.

So the editing is done. What’s next? it’s on to how to format my word document. My hope is that the process will be pretty smooth but I’m not counting on that.

I don’t know if I will read it aloud before I upload. Time is short and I am tired. Forgive me.

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Posted in the end, momentum, launch

Mad Dash to the Finish

I’m editing like crazy this weekend. After ten plus years of off and on work on my first book ‘hero’ the end is in sight. I’ll be honest though, the last couple of months have been tough.

As a runner, there was something familiar about it. This experience reminded me of running marathons. The exhilaration of the start. The excitement of people pulling for you. Then the monotony of the miles sets in but the energy from the excitement keeps you going. That is however, until you hit the wall around mile 18. Your legs start to quiver, you slow down. It feels like too much. You see runners collapse at this point. They have nothing left. If somehow, you are able to dig deep and push past the wall at mile 22, the end is truly in sight. You feel reenergized and can cross that finish line. Head held high. Proud of that accomplishment.

I’ve crossed the wall and now I’m reenergized to reach the finish. I’m going to hold my head up high when I do finish because, whether the book is perfect or not, I did my best to tell the story I imagined. There are many who fail to reach the finish. The wall gets them. Or something else. There are also many who never reach the starting line. I made both as of this week and I will celebrate that accomplishment.

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Posted in the end, launch

Apologies

I’ve failed my first major book goal of 2019. I wanted to relaunch my first book in January but I haven’t. Yes, I had the flu, I traveled to Turkey and New York but I still should have found time. I’m only 6 weeks into 2019 and I’m at least 4 weeks behind schedule. I’m disappointed in myself for that.

Okay. Enough of the pity party. What can I do to get going again?

Where I have been stuck is adding details in each chapter. It’s important to really put the reader into each scene. That being said, it’s a pain and sucks the motivation out of me. Additionally, I keep catching errors which at this point should be rare, but isn’t. Again, that makes me not want to look at the book.

I’ve taken some time to remember why I wrote the book in the first place. I am tired, but recommitted. Tomorrow, I will crank through as many chapters as I can. Hopefully, I can launch the book this week.

I heard somewhere that brick walls are put in front of you to find out how badly you want something. I’ve climbed many walls on this journey. I’ll climb this last one too and finish my book knowing I did my very best.

A reminder that at some point, I will stop posting here and will be posting exclusively at hareeshjayanthi.com

Hope to see you there!

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Posted in Editing conundrum, Ups and Downs, Status update

Editing Process

Since I’m deep in the editing process, I thought I would share the process I have developed to structure my editing. Please note, this is my process. It may not, in fact probably will not work for you. It only took me ten years to develop this but I am still refining. I don’t claim this is the best way or even close. I know this isn’t just editing but bear with me.

I start with a very bare bones outline of the story I imagined. I usually see one particular scene first so I try to build around. It is definitely less than 1,000 words at this point and there are big gaps in the story. Sentence fragments dominate.

As I start to “tune in” to the story more scenes come into my head. I add to the skinny outline and have produced an enhanced outline. Word count is somewhere between 2,000 and 5,000. The writing is still crap at this point.

Once I have the enhanced outline fleshed out with enough scenes I begin writing everyday from each scene. I target around 500 words a day. I create chapters though they are not really in any order. I target 60% of what I think the total word count will be for v1 of the rough draft.

What I call Pre editing is going chapter by chapter and fixing obvious mistakes and adding details. Obvious mistakes include spelling errors, poor grammar, etc. I try to add 100 words of details per chapter. That adds about 10,000 to 20,000 to the book.

First editing is checking for appropriateness of language used by characters and adding more details. I also check to make sure there is depth to all significant characters. Since many of my locations or times are exotic, details really add to the flavor.

Second editing is running it through an online checker as well as reading it aloud. The online checker highlights things I have missed and wouldn’t otherwise be familiar with. Reading it aloud really adds a finality to my editing.

Third editing is getting feedback from beta readers. This is tough because now you have to hear from others. Additionally, getting useful feedback is difficult. Still, it’s a necessary evil.

Fourth editing is line editor which you can hire on Fiverr.com. Another pair of eyes is always helpful.

Fifth editing is final check by me. Read aloud. After all that, I curl up and read it aloud to really send my story out to the universe. The universe whispered it to me as a tiny idea and now I’ve finished it and am whispering it back as a finished story.

Finally, I format the book and upload it.

That’s it. It’s actually a lot but it separate last people who talk about writing a book from the people who see it through.

Anyway, I hope this view of my process helps in your own efforts.

On a side note, I am consolidating my blogs onto my personal website: http://hareeshjayanthi.com/

It’s a work in progress but bookmark and check it. There’s more than just books there.

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Posted in The Writing Game

Obstacles test commitment

The universe is not conspiring against me, though sometimes even I have to wonder. I brought the wrong plug adaptor to Turkey so no writing occurred there. I’ve been battling the flu since I’ve returned so there’s been minimal progress on the writing front.

Three weeks into the new year and and I’m already three weeks behind. It’s frustrating!

I’m doing everything in my power to finish and upload ‘hero’ in January but it’s not going to be easy.

Boys of Brighton Beach and Mountain of Forgiveness have been pushed to the side in my haste to get hero done. Definitely not best practices.

Why is it that you plan things meticulously but in the end it’s just a mad dash to get things done?

My website is having new features added to it this week (http://hareeshjayanthi.com/) which should serve to broaden the user experience. If you have ideas on how to improve the site, let me know.

The mad dash continues…

(Image is Blue Mosque in Istanbul)

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Posted in Status update

Disappointed but never defeated

So my writing plans for my trip to Istanbul were destroyed early on when I realized that the adaptor I brought wouldn’t fit my laptop plug. It was frustrating to say the least. The cold, wet weather matched my mood. Still, I got to see some nice things and get away from the daily grind.

Today has given me an opportunity to reflect on what my writing priorities should be. I’ve come to the decision that while it is important to have multiple books available, getting the first one in there should be job number one.

Therefore, I will pause any work on Boys of Brighton Beach and Mountain of Forgiveness until hero has been launched.

Its a tough decision but with the recent unproductive days my target of January is potentially in jeopardy. I can’t have that. Too many things planned for 2019.

Dont worry about the other books. After hero’s launch, I will redouble my efforts to stay on schedule.

Maybe these lost days have served to help me reprioritize. Could have been a good thing though I would never tell anyone that.

The only writing related things I will continue with while finishing hero are the Twitter account @jayanthihareesh), the Facebook page (Hareesh the author) and of course the blog posts.

Its going to be a crazy rush this whole year I think. Buckle up!

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Posted in launch, Ups and Downs

Must Focus Now

I’m sitting in the international terminal at O’Hare airport waiting for my flight to Amsterdam and then onto Istanbul. I’ll try to take some interesting pictures so I can share.

I wont be leaving my writing behind (as if I could haha). I have my phone and laptop with me will be using both extensively to make progress.

The final push is on for hero so I expect a lot in the next four days. I need to launch this book to build my name for the books coming later. Of course I want sales, but the long term vale of hero is establishing myself as a purveyor of quality stories.

The Boys of Brighton Beach is proceeding quickly with the pre-editing. What I mean by that is that I am adding a goal 100 words into each chapter focusing on details. First level editing is next. That is where I will 1) add more delicious details where appropriate 2) check my details for historical accuracy 3) check the language to make sure it is appropriate for 1870.

A Mountain of Forgiveness is coming along but looking forward to giving it a jumpstart on this trip. Target is minimum of 15,000 words but I would love 20,000 plus.

Dont forget to check out my website @ http://www.hareeshjayanthi.com and sign up for my newsletter which I will be launching later this month.

Exciting stuff happening!

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Posted in launch, The Writing Game